Dear Joel Greenberg (Or, What Makes “Political Theatre” Political?)


NSFW-2Dear Joel,

It’s tempting to grant you amazing gifts of foresight: your production of young British author Lucy Kirkwood’s play¬†NSFW (Not Safe For Work), a satire about the media and cultural attitudes towards sex and gender, has coincided with a couple of the biggest sex scandals in years and an invigorated national conversation around sexual aggression. On the face of it, this play seems to be the definition of political theatre — timely, topical, provocative — the sort of work to which your company, Studio 180, is committed.

By most standards, your production is terrific. The acting is superb; the dramatic stakes are high; the action gallops, though the pace never feels forced. NSFW has virtues that the person I was three years ago, say, would’ve swooned over (and that the person I am now admires): witty, fluid, revealing dialogue, a clever structure, emotional complexity.

But one virtue it lacks, I find, is political urgency.

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